Way to go Platte County voters — I knew you had it in you.
Just as you did one year ago when you passed the one-half cent parks sales tax renewal by a comfortable margin, you once again repelled the naysayers on Tuesday and renewed the County’s highly-successful roads sales tax by an equally impressive margin of 57-43 percent.
Progress has been championed once again while regress has been relegated to the rearview mirror, where it belongs.
I’ve got a lot more to say about this and also the radio funding issue that some folks are suddenly ready to point fingers about after ignoring it the past several years and rest assured I’ll pick it back up in the weeks to come.
But first, I want to shed a little light on some folks who were hoping to undermine County progress in the dark and under a veil of secrecy.
As I forecasted in this space last week — and it really wasn’t that significant of a prognostication, given the number of times it has happened in recent years — an out-of-county group spent thousands of dollars in the days leading up to the election trying to tell Platte Countians how to vote.
In addition to receiving annoying automated robocalls, many Platte County residents were treated to special presents when they went to their mailboxes — bright (mine was yellow) postcards telling us to vote no on the roads sales tax renewal.
The “paid for by” on the postcard was listed as Taxpayers Protection PAC (as you know, PAC is an acronym for political action committee), Evan Maxon, Treasurer. I had never heard of the committee or Maxon, so I started digging.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), the actual name of the group is Taxpayer (not Taxpayers) Protection PAC and the Statement of Committee Organization was filed with the MEC on March 12, 2013. Remember that, because we’re going to come back to it later.
Maxon is listed as the treasurer with an address of 5821 Trailridge Dr., Parkville. Like I said, I do not know Maxon, but it didn’t take me long to find some names I did know.
Topping the list was James C. Thomas III — an attorney who has been involved in numerous clandestine anti-tax, anti-government PACs like this one over the years — who was listed as deputy treasurer. The address and phone number for the group was that of Thomas’ ClayCounty office.
An examination of a report of recent contributions to Taxpayer Protection revealed another usual suspect in these kinds of last-minute direct mail attacks — John Elliott, of Smithville. Since March 26 alone, Elliott is listed as having contributed $2,150.
Wouldn’t it be nice if these folks would quit sneaking around trying to tear things down and instead contribute something positive?
Anyway, back to that March 12, 2013 Statement of Committee Organization filing date a few paragraphs back.
According to an MEC official I talked with on the phone, PACs are classified as continuing committees and such committees are required by Missouri state statute 130.011 to form no later than 60 days prior to the election they are participating in. In this case, that would be the April 2 election and none of us need a calculator (though maybe the Taxpayer Protection folks should have used one) to determine that March 12 is not 60 days prior to April 2.
So I called Maxon and Thomas and left messages. Thomas promptly called me back and I asked him about the comittee’s establishment filing date with the MEC. He didn’t seem too worried about it and also seemed under the impression that the statute did not apply to PACs. When I told him that the MEC had informed me it did, he said, “Well, if someone wants to complain about it, I guess we will discuss it then.”
True enough, according to the MEC — someone has to file a complaint with the Commission.
Stay tuned. Methinks such a complaint might be forthcoming.Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.